Brevard Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors
Business Meeting Minutes
The Brevard Soil and Water Conservation District met in a regular public session on Wednesday, April 12, 2023, at 4:00 p.m., at UF/IFAS Extension Brevard County, at 3695 Lake Drive, Cocoa, FL.
Board members present: Bud Crisafulli, Chair
Jim Fletcher, Supervisor
Billy Kempfer, Secretary
Chris McMaster, Treasurer
Staff members present: Beth Shephard, Brevard County Extension Director
Joe Walter, UF IFAS Ag Agent
Derrick Wyle, USDA NRCS, District Conservationist
Andy Irizarry, USDA NRCS, Soil Conservationist
Adrienne Adams, UF IFAS Brevard County Administrative Secretary
Guests present: Charlene Meeks, Association of Florida Conservation Districts
Fran Fleckinger, Canaveral Marsh
Sheila L. Theus, Director Real Estate Services Program SJRWMD
- Written Minutes for March 2023.
Meeting called to order at 4:00 p.m. by Jim Fletcher.
Review and Approval of the Current Treasurer’s Report
- As of February 1, 2023, the balance was $46,501.87, and stayed the same for March. The check from Fran Fleckinger was deposited for this month, $3,900, which brings us to $50,401.87.
- Motion to accept – Jim F.; seconded, Billy K.
- AFCD dues still need to be paid. $350
- Motion to pay AFCD dues – Chris M; seconded, Billy K. Motion carried.
- 4-H Poultry Auction. The auction has already passed; the board did not donate last year, so Beth did not pursue anything from the board. Beth said 4-H would come to the board with specific requests when needed. Possibly add to the budget for the future.
Review and Approval of Minutes for the prior Board of Supervisors meeting.
Motion to approve minutes from the prior board meeting – Jim F.; seconded – Billy K. Motion carried.
Program Assistant Update
Beth Shephard – The position will be posted on 4.14.23 approved with changes from the county manager. It will be open until filled; it is easier to close it rather than re-post it every two weeks. The position description is very close to what was given to the board a few weeks ago. It will be sent out with meeting minutes. Extension will be looking to the board to see if they are interested in being part of the interview process. The 4-H Program Assistant position will be posted on that day also.
Cocoa Police Department Request
The police department sent the board an e-mail requesting an open-ended amount of money specified for their initiative to keep children safe. This will be addressed at a later date.
Chelsea will be removing the board from Facebook. There has been discussion about whether to have any presence on any of the social media platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc., and the board has come to the conclusion that at this point in time, there will not be a presence on social media. The website will continue to be used. Motion – Billy K; seconded – Chris M. Motion carried.
The board wants to get a feeling of how the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) interacts with the board, and more importantly, develop a strategic plan, as well as look for opportunities for funds to come into this district to promote agriculture programs.
Two ways for funding: 1) a cost-shared contract with FDACS with the all-state water policy. Cost share goes out to the producers. FDACs is not able to handle that directly from the department to the producers. So that’s why it goes through soil and water conservation districts. 2) Type two: Conservation technician contracts. That way, the board actually becomes an employer of technicians in their area. Both of those require contracts with the Office of Backwater Policy. There can only be either one or the other. There are also Mobil Irrigation Labs (MILs) that are another kind of technician contract. Half the field staff are employed by FDACS, half are employed by the soil and water districts. With the conservation technician contract, there’s a lot more work to be done: handbooks, insurance, vehicles, payroll. The payment schedule is 5% of the contract.
Cost share can be over multiple counties. For example, if Jackson County has spent all their budget, and Highlands County has extra budget left over, those cost-share projects in Jackson County can be paid with funds out of Highlands County.
Administratively, most things that the board will be working with would be with FDACS contract manager, Angela. She’s the one who writes all the contracts and handles the budget. FDACS is on three-year contracts, but not a three-year budget period. It’s 3 years as long as the budget is there, and it gets appropriated that year. That budget cannot be counted on coming back every year, but at least the process is in place for three years with the contract.
The process is informal at the moment. It’s just gauging interest to see if the board would want to participate and then go from there.
The best way to go about pursuing cost sharing would be to write a letter stating an interest in pursuing a relationship. It is crunch time as far as budget season, so everything needs to be in order for next year’s budget. It could be a year-long process to get in the rotation on that.
Clay and Chris Denmark would be the point of contact for any questions.
The cost share items that are going to be a result BMP Manual update should come through FDACS. FDACS is working on the sod manual and the beef Cattle Manual.
District Conversationist Update
Andy and Derrick attended the Livestock Agents Group meeting and a workshop for the East Central Florida chapter of the National Women in Agriculture Association. They did a large Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) zoom workshop that was well attended and joined forage field day in Keenansville. The result was we now have received 3 CSP sign-ups, 2 Brevard, 1 Seminole. The last meeting, seeding opportunities were discussed. As a result of promoting that, there were 21 applications – 17 in Brevard and 4 for Seminole. The next step is to plan visits, determine what cost share is going to be required to implement their specific project, give them a ranking score, see how much money comes in, and then write a seeding prescription based on their particular objectives and deals that they want to implement.
Last month, there were two disaster contracts at the time pre-approval of our county for $192,000. Those are now officially obligated contracts. There has also been three additional pre-approvals for disaster projects for a total of $173,000, bringing the total of obligated and pre-approved funds for disaster work in Brevard and Seminole County to $365,000. For regular sign ups that were received prior to October 7th of last year, there are 9 eligible applications for Cocoa. Those have been ranked and cost estimates and plans made. There is a total request of $532,000 for those projects with the answers on pre-approvals due by 4.21.23.
Historically, all the boards that NRCS works with usually sends out the publicity through various means on how much money is being brought into the county.
Lastly, in keeping with the MOU with Brevard County and Natural Resource Management and the stormwater program, NRCS requested that NRCS’s name not be included in the letter that goes to land owners, when they have renewal for their conservation plan for their stormwater credits. Now, when natural resources sends out their letter saying it’s time to get the conservation plan renewed, it’s now going to go to the board so that they can be referred to NRCS.
Valerie and Beth are meeting within the next week and a half to come up with a policy for the board.
Canaveral Marsh Lease
Mrs. Fleckinger shares the boundary with the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD). An initial lease was entered into in 2001 and amended several times. These leases are being renegotiated, and a new lease between the SJRWMD and the Fleckingers is also being negotiated. A separate agreement will be negotiated between the SJRWMD and the Brevard Soil and Water Conservation District for the maintenance of the parking area and educational use of the property. Financial compensation would be equal to what it is now, maybe with a slight increase. Extension would like to make it so that it’s more educational rather than just maintenance, which was agreed upon by everyone.
Motion to terminate the original lease – Jim F.; seconded – Billy K. Motion carried.
Motion to begin negotiations on a new agreement – Chris M.; seconded – Billy K. Motion carried.
Motion to end the meeting at 5:32 p.m. – Jim F.; seconded – Bud. C. Motion carried.
Minutes submitted by Adrienne Adams.